A few days ago, it was barely news that the biggest Ebola outbreak on record was pulsing its way across West Africa. Things have changed.
Following the deaths of 700 people and the terrifying spread of the disease into four countries, the fear picked up after two Americans were reported infected last week. Then two American Peace Corps volunteers were exposed and isolated. Then the Peace Corps removed its volunteers. Travel warnings were issued.
It was around then that those classic tune-in-to-find-out questions started:
A U.S. man infected with the deadly Ebola virus boards a plane. How long until the outbreak reaches America? @JeanCasarezCNN has the report.— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) July 29, 2014
And then, despite the attempts of some to moderate with facts the fear of what might happen if someone with Ebola arrived in the United States, we were primed for a panic by a Drudge siren:
If Ebola Hits America, Even Healthy Will be Quarantined... http://t.co/XAzhOlI0m6— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) July 31, 2014
And now, of course, with the arrival in Atlanta of Dr. Kent Brantly, described as "the 33-year-old Indiana physician who contracted Ebola while battling it in Liberia," the grand flip out is underway.
"Let's bring the Ebola virus to America for the first time!" - medical community that can't even control common cold viruses.— Pauly Miller (@Pauly_Miller) August 2, 2014
Well America, the Ebola virus is here courtesy of our amazing government— (@TheGingerTy) August 2, 2014
Of course, the facts are that the virus, while incurable, doesn't spread through the air. And it's much easier to treat and contain in developed countries. That's why Brantly — the doctor who asked that an experimental serum be given to an American aid worker instead of him — is here.
Ebola Freakout Flowchart Exchanging bodily fluids with victim? ↓ ↓ Yes No ↓ ↓ Worry Settle down— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) August 2, 2014
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.